Last night’s dinner … Doesn’t it look amazing?
I’m glad I finally have a recipe to share with you today. Many thanks to Joe of Culinary in the Country for this one. We loved the taste of the meatballs, and the colorful vegetables and broth were fantastic as well. I was able to use up the last bit of orzo pasta I had lying around in the pantry, which makes me feel resourceful 🙂 It also doesn’t hurt that this is a hearty, but good-for-you soup.
The meatballs are made with ground chicken and hot Italian turkey sausage. Neither are as cheap as ground beef, but the health and taste factor outweighed the cost for me on this one. Let me tell you, it was well worth it. The fact that there is virtually no grease makes for very easy baking and cleanup, plus JW said he likes these meatballs better than any others I’ve made, so these may become our standard spaghetti meatballs as well. You can see he couldn’t resist tasting a couple before they went into the soup…
Click here for the soup recipe. I made the following very small changes:
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of fresh
- Water instead of milk (no reason, except I was out of milk and I figured water was the next best thing. All I had was vanilla soymilk and somehow I didn’t think that would mesh well with the Italian flavors we had going here)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to replace the cheeses in the meatballs – and yes, I used the stuff in the green can. It’s cheaper, okay?
- Added about 5-6 chopped roma tomatoes after the onion/carrot/celery mixture had softened for extra color.
- 1 tsp dried basil instead of the fresh dill. Worked just fine.
- 6 oz bag of baby spinach. Add more if you like.
To go with the soup, I made a loaf of the widely-popular NY Times no-knead bread, and I added fresh rosemary from my very own apartment balcony herb garden. It was insanely delicious.
I have made this bread many, many times. It is very forgiving, and always turns out great. If you haven’t tried it, you knead to… (Sorry. Really. I’m very sorry for that one.)
Here’s the recipe with my modifications:
From Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery, published in the NY Times
Yields one 1 ½ pound loaf
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp instant (active dry) yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups water
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature at least 12 hours, but up to 20.
Lightly flour a work surface (I use wax paper or parchment paper) and place dough on it. Spray with cooking spray and lay a piece of plastic wrap loosely on top. Let rest 2 hours.
20-30 minutes before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a heavy pot with a lid (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. (At this point, sometimes I spray the pot with cooking spray. I’m not sure if it’s necessary or not.) Turn dough into the pot – you may have to scrape some of it off the paper. It will look like a mess. Shake once or twice if dough is very uneven – it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes (mine usually just takes 10), until loaf is beautifully browned. Turn onto a rack to cool.
I dare you to wait until this is cool to eat it. I don’t think I’ve done it once. Ever. Homemade bread is just so much better warm, don’t you think?